Australian defense starts ID-based war strategy

Requirements for the technology, used to authenticate the e-identities of personnel, computers, sensors and weapons systems across its networks, will be discussed at upcoming briefing.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is set to embark on an identity management project worth up to US$67 million, which will support its network-centric warfare ambitions.

Defence CIO Group, headed up by Greg Farr since October last year, has planned an open industry briefing in Canberra on October 29 to discuss requirements for its identity management system it plans to implement, according to tender documents released this week.

Identity management technology was earmarked in 2006 to boost Australia's capability to engage in network-centric warfare. The technology would be used primarily to authenticate the electronic identities of personnel, computers, sensors and weapons systems that have access to ADF networks.

Network-centric warfare refers to improve operational outcomes through linking and coordinating the information grids of ADF's various arms.

"The proposed capability recognizes that a trusted source of identity will become increasingly critical as [ADF's] dependence on networked personnel and systems continues to increase in all capability areas, including in the broader network centric warfare and allied interoperability arenas," the organization stated in its "Defence Capability Plan (DCP) 2006-2016".

The ADF has also outlined its broader ambitions in the field, as it plans to unify information grids used across the navy, military and air force.

Beyond software and server hardware, other technologies under consideration are smartcards, smartcard readers, enrolment workstations and token printers, according to ADF.

Phase one of the implementation will focus on developing policy and governance processes to manage identity information, as well as building the infrastructure for the system, according to the Defence Capability Plan (DCP) 2006-2016.

Defense expects to implement the identity management system some time between 2010 and 2012, which has been estimated to cost between A$75 million (US$50.8 million) to A$100 million (US$67.7 million), according to the tender documents.

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